Insecure Writers Support Group #IWSG ‘7 Lessons Learnt in 2022’ #amwriting #writingtips #January2022 #BookBlogger

This post was written in response to the Insecure Writer’s Support Group monthly (first Wednesday of every month) blog hop to where writers express thoughts, doubts, and concerns about our profession. By the way, all writers are invited to join in!

The awesome co-hosts for the January 3 posting of the IWSG are Erika Beebe, Olga Godim, Sandra Cox, Sarah Foster, and Chemist Ken!

Insecure Writers Support Group Badge

7 Writing Lessons Learnt in 2022

1: Amazon KDP select is my best option at the moment.

I decided to go wide in summer 2021. I signed up with Draft2Digital, and although they are professional and helpful, I’m going back to working exclusively with Amazon. Going wide is not worth the extra work at this stage of my writing life and writing career. I have only sold six books, and it is probably my fault for not advertising with the other book sellers more actively, but I don’t have the time. I need to simplify my life and at the moment Amazon exclusive is my best and simplest bet.

2. A solid morning routine is beneficial for my life and my writing.

I used to get up at seven and go to work, but when I took early retirement in 2019, I had some difficulty adapting to a new writing routine. I had never written in the mornings, as I was working as a teacher. I used to write in the evenings and weekends. After reading The Miracle Morning for Writers in 2020, I decided to implement the routine in my new life. I’ve discovered that the first three hours of writing, from 7-10 are my golden hours. I’m more creative and productive.

3: I’m a plantser

I started out as a pantser. I had four clearly define characters and an idea and I started writing to see where the characters would take me. It was a wonderful experience. I had the time of my life writing my sequel to Jane Eyre and new characters and plot lines grew so much that one novel became and trilogy and then a series. However, I soon realised I needed a structure to tie all the strands, so I read plenty of books on plotting, which helped me structure and finish my novels. I recommend Save the Cat for Writers as one of the most useful and practical books on the topic. And I thought I had become a plotter, but it was just a phase!

Now I’d describe myself as a plantser. I start with a few characters and a conflict which I explore and when I have about 10,000 words and a good number of scenes, I write a loose outline, to help me stay focussed, and write. I allow the characters to drive the action and the outline gradually meanders, so I feel I’m exploring as I write.

4. The Eyre Hall Series will have many more installments.

I’ve written three new books and one novella in the series this year. I’ve also reedited three novels in the series, that means I’ve worked on seven books this year! So my morning routine is definitely working for me! I have lots of ideas to continue and expand the series even more. I’ve also planned other novels in the series and revised a contemporary thriller I had written a few years ago.

5: Writing is my lifesaver

Throughout these two difficult years of Covid plus numerous personal issues, writing has helped me wake up feeling optimistic and energetic enough to carry out a healthy morning routine, write, look after my family, make time for friends and hobbies. My novels have been my lighthouse in a dark, stormy sea.

6: I still love blogging

I’ve been doing more creative writing than blogging this year, but I’ve realised I don’t want to stop blogging. I enjoy having a little window to the world where I can be seen and heard, and interact with other bloggers. I hope to have more time to blog in 2022.

7: The more I read the better writer I become

I’ve been reading widely this year; fiction as well as non-fiction. I especially enjoy thrillers and historical novels, but I’ve also read science fiction, memoirs and non-fiction books this year. I’ve incorporated many books on personal growth which have helped me immensely. I’ve shared many of them in my #MondayMotivation posts. Everything I read helps me improve my craft.

What lessons have you learnt as a writer in 2022?

If you want to find out more about my novels check out my home page, and if you want to find out about my new releases and special offers, subscribe to my newsletter below.

Happy Reading and Writing!

Here are six of my titles and covers in The Eyre Hall Series.
Book 5, Snow Moon will be published on 17th February!

The Eyre Hall Trilogy: Unpublished BUT The Eyre Hall Series will be Published shortly #JaneEyre and #WideSargassoSea Sequel

It was with sadness that I clicked on the ‘unpublish’ button on My KDP Bookshelf yesterday morning. So now, if you go to my Amazon Author page you will not be able to purchase my novels in ebook format any more. But, fear not, remember, ‘All’s well that ends well’!

Banner and Lucy

This was the banner I created in 2016, when I published the third and final novel in my series, Midsummer at Eyre Hall. It’s been almost five years since that happened, and seven years since I published my first novel, All Hallows at Eyre Hall. It’s been a wonderful journey as an independent author, improving my writing skills, learning about self-publishing, blogging, networking with other authors, readers and reviewers, and marketing, because an indie author has to do it all, and/or outsource to others.

When I started writing All Hallows at Eyre Hall, my sequel to Jane Eyre, I had four characters, Mrs Rochester (nee Jane Eyre) Mr Edward Rochester, Mr Richard Mason and Miss Annette Mason, in a setting, Eyre Hall, in Yorkshire, rebuilt by Jane, on the site of Thornfield Hall, after it was burnt down and she married Mr Rochester, on a specific date, twenty-two years after their marriage in October 1865, while Mr Rochester is on his deathbed. I had a very vague plot; Richard Mason was to bring Bertha Mason, Edward’s first wife’s daughter, Annette, born in the attic, while she was imprisoned at Thornfield Hall, back to England, from Jamaica, where she had been living, under his supervision, to blackmail Jane Eyre.

Plotter, Pantser or Plantser?

I began my first novel as a ‘pantser’; I sat down and wrote All Hallows at Eyre Hall, with no attention to plot structure or character arc. I had my characters, location and one specific plot line, and I wrote with the naïve confidence that it would all work out in the end. I started writing, during my summer holidays in 2013 (I was working as a teacher at the time), by September, I realised it would be a trilogy, because although there was one main plot, there were plenty of linked sub plots, and over twenty characters had come into play.

I also realised I needed a plan to keep all the plot lines, character arcs, and events in place, so I decided to plot my novels, but I didn’t become a plotter, I became a plantser. This means I prepare an outline of my novel, with scenes and chapters, and then I write, but I’m not a slave to my plot. The plot guides me to a destination, but my characters decide if they want to follow the plan or rewrite it with their own ideas. I literally go with my character’s flow. The end product looks like the original plot, but it’s never the same, and that’s the beauty of plantsing; you get the best of both worlds.

All Hallows was a learning experience. Writing this novel taught me my strengths and weaknesses, and learning from them helped me become a better writer. It’s not my favourite novel (yes, I do have a favourite, and some of you already know which one it is), but it is the most special, because by writing this novel, I discovered the best writing process for me.

I wrote and published a book a year after All Hallows. By trial and error I found two great editors, one in the UK and one in the US, several fabulous cover designers, I learnt something about selling and marketing books, and a lot about the self-publishing business, thanks to many generous people on YouTube, specialised blogs and other social media. I learnt to format and upload my books as ebooks and paperbacks on Amazon, and dabble in a bit of marketing, at a very basic level. It has been an exhausting, but hugely rewarding enterprise, I had never even imagined lay ahead of me when I started writing.

Everything changed in 2020

So, what happened in 2020? Actually, it all started in 2019, when I took early retirement from teaching in September and decided to write full time. I expected to have more time for my literary pursuits, but starting in December 2019, everything went downhill. It was a very complex year for personal and family reasons. There were births, illness, marriage and divorce in the family to cope with, as well as Covid-19, and although ideas were bursting to be written, they were put on hold, as I attended to the urgent matters in my family’s lives.

Everything changed again in the autumn of 2020. Suddenly, I had all the time in the world to write, due to partial lockdown, and the personal and family issues were well on the mend, so I resumed my neglected writing career with full force. This means that The Eyre Hall Trilogy has gradually become The Eyre Hall Series, an idea which had been in my mind, and partly on paper, for some time.

The first new instalment is Blood Moon at Eyre Hall, The new Book One in the series.

This led to a third edition of All Hallows at Eyre Hall, which has become Book Two. The series continues with a second, revised edition of Twelfth Night at Eyre Hall, which has become Book Three of the Eyre Hall Series.

I reached a major hurdle when it came to Midsummer at Eyre Hall, which covered over ten years and has now become three books: Thunder Moon at Eyre Hall, Book Four of The Eyre Hall Series.

Followed by Book Five of the Eyre Hall Series, Snow Moon At Eyre Hall.

And finally, Midsummer at Eyre Hall is now Book Six in the Eyre Hall Series.

So The Eyre Hall Trilogy has become The has become The Eyre Hall Series with six books.

The first four novels are complete, but in various stages of editing and formatting. The last two are still in early drafts. I hope to publish Book One, Blood Moon at Eyre Hall in July, and the following books will be published one a month until the whole series and Box Set will be complete by December, 2021.

This being the case, I thought it best to unpublish the original trilogy. For those who have read The Eyre Hall Trilogy, I suggest two options; you could reread the whole new series (The box set of six books will have a very special price). Otherwise, if you remember the plot, you can take up the story after Twelfth Night, because there are no major changes up to the end of this novel, and read the last three books, which are new. If you’re still not sure, drop me a line at the email below, or in the comments.

Finally, if any of you would like to be the first to read Blood Moon at Eyre Hall, Book One in The Eyre Hall Series, please let me know, so I can get in touch personally, either in the comments below, or email me at luccia.gray@gmail.com so I can send you an ARC.